With Dwyane Wade in Chicago and the franchise now facing a potential rebuild, the Miami Heat could be preparing to make point guard Goran Dragic available via trade.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, starting the rebuild process in Miami would include trying to find a trade partner for Dragic.
“League executives are preparing for the reality that Goran Dragic would become available on the market in the short-term future,” Windhorst said on SportsCenter.
Windhorst made it clear that the Heat have not directly “indicated” an interest in dealing Dragic, especially after a 2015-16 season in which the 30-year-old point guard averaged over 14 points with almost six assists and four rebounds per game. He’s signed in Miami through the 2018-19 season, with a player option for 2019-20.
While dealing Dragic now would further handcuff Miami for next season, the move could give Heat president Pat Riley more freedom in free agency next summer. Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Steph Curry, Serge Ibaka and Andre Iguodala are all scheduled to be free agents in 2017, while a player like Kevin Durant could opt out and join the group next summer.
The post-Wade Heat have many decisions to make about the future of the franchise. Riley may be willing to sacrifice 2016-17—a season in which Miami is unlikely to challenge for a title without Wade—if it means a return to prominence through next year’s free agency. Adding cap space with a Dragic trade is one way for the Heat to jump start the rebuild.